Spring has sprung and with it we are releasing a major new feature
we have been working on the past month - late visit alerts! As your pet care business
grows and you are managing multiple walkers and sitters it can be easy to lose track
of what visits have not been completed on time. This is particularly important in the dog
walking and pet sitting business where a missed visit can put the life of a beloved
pet in danger.
With that in mind we have introduced a new feature that alerts you via email when
a scheduled visit has has not been marked complete within 30 minutes of the scheduled
completion time. We think this should help reduce the chances of missed visits and keep
the daily schedule running smoothly.
To turn on this setting go to My Company->Settings and then in the basic
settings section it is the last option. You will need to enter your time zone and
also decide who should receive the alert email (multiple emails can be added).
Have a great April!
Over the years we have worked with many pet care company owners who after building
a successful business decide it is time to sell. There can be multiple reasons for selling, including
retiring, moving to another part of the country, health reasons, or just a desire to try something new. Because
we have helped a lot of companies through this process from an operations perspective, I though
I would share some tips and watchouts to make it a smooth transition with the new owner.
One of the most important things you can do to ensure a successful sales process is
to make sure the data is up to date in PetSitClick. If you are three months behind in invoicing or entering payments,
it can create a lot of last minute work before the software account is transitioned to the new owner. Even worse,
if your new buyer is privy to the disorganization in the software, it can lead them to believe that other parts of the
business might be in disarray and back out of the deal. So before you even consider putting your business on the
market make sure your PetSitClick account is ship shape.
The second tip is to train the new business owners on PetSitClick before the deal closes (if they plan to continue
using the software). We have had panicked calls from new owners who have not been trained on the software and are suddenly trying
to track 40 daily walks and 7 active walkers and sitters. We have made PetSitClick easy to use, but it still requires training and
preparation, especially for an going business concern. And remember, we offer free training, so even if you don't have time
just send them our way and we are happy to instruct them for you!
Make sure that before you instruct us to transfer the master
account to the new owner you have downloaded any data you need from PetSitClick. Remember, once they take over the account
we cannot let you back in; at that point it is up to the new owner to allow you access. If for some reason
you need financial data from the software and the new owner decides not to provide it to you, there is nothing we can
do to help. And remember that business deals can turn sour, so even if they promise to provide you access that might
change in the future. So download, download, download!
Finally, you have put in a lot of time and effort to build a successful business. So
don't necessarily sell it to the first person who comes along showing interest. There are lots of business
for sale websites you can list your business and see what interest there might be. You can check out
Business For Sale, Biz Buy Sell, Canada Business Store, and
other similar sites for your country. So I hope these tips help and the sale of your business goes smoothly!
PetSitClick continues to grow so we recently invested in new servers to meet increased demand.
One benefit of our new horsepower is that services can now be scheduled up to five years into the future vs. the
current limit of two. We feel this should pretty much end the need to extend long running services, since generally speaking
most services would be changed or altered over a five year period. But if a service does happen to run that long we
will still warn you on the welcome page that it is about to expire. So as you schedule your new services keep
this new feature in mind.
I also have two other great features to share with you. On the service mass edit page you can
now change the time of a service. This means you no longer have to modify the service header to make a change to the time
of the service. The other new feature is that the email tool now allows you to choose individual walkers/sitters vs. the current
situation where you can only send an email to all walkers/sitters.
That is all for now, make sure to stay warm if you are in one of the colder climates (or not too hot if you are in Australia)!
Happy New Year!
In the spirit of a fresh start, in this feature focus we are going to explore how to clean up your service headers. Anytime you create a service in PetSitClick you end up with a service header, whether the visit is only a one time visit or for the next two years. Think of a service header, or master, as the set of instructions that tells PetSitClick what calendar entries to create. For example, a service header might tell PetSitClick to schedule daily walks for client Lindsay Smith at 12:00 pm Monday to Friday.
Overtime as you schedule a lot of services you will end up with many service headers that no longer have active visits. All of the visits for those service headers will have been marked complete and invoiced. The net result is that on the Services->Services screen you can end up with a lot of service headers that no longer have any purpose and make it difficult to focus on active ones with ongoing visits. But there is an easy solution to this problem.
First, navigate to Services->Services. Next, change the number of entries on the bottom to 100. Click the top checkbox and select all of the visible entries.
Now at the bottom click the button that says "Archive checked service headers".
Here is the great part about this feature. If there are any incomplete visits remaining for a particular service header PetSitClick will not archive it. So you do not need to do anything manually, simply select all your service headers and PetSitClick will only archive the ones with no incomplete visits left.
Simply repeat this process for all of your service headers and in the end you will be left with only active service headers. This will leave you with a much more mangeable list. And remember, at the bottom of the Services->Services page is a link to your archived service headers where you can always reactivate them if you want. We hope this tip helps keep you organized and we wish everyone the best for 2017!
I hope everyone is having a great Fall. It has been a bit warmer then
normal here in Toronto but can't say that I mind it. Sure the dogs don't mind it either!
Today we rolled out two new feature for PetSitClick. First, we have introduced
a tip tracking system, and second, we have given your clients the ability to pay invoices directly through the
portal with a credit card. The tip tracking system will make it easy to keep on top of tips that your
walkers and sitters have earned, so we are excited about that (who doesn't love tips?). Giving your clients
the ability to pay invoices through the portal should also make things much easier. After you create the invoice,
your clients can pay it (and add a tip as well) and we take care of recording the payment. So it will
free up more of your time to concentrate on the things you like doing. This video
covers the new features in detail.
We are always on a mission to make PetSitClick better, and these two new features are part of that goal. If you are looking for a pet sitting software, why not create a free trial and see all that we have to offer?
Don't miss the most important part!
The pet industry generated $62.75 Billion in revenues in 2015,
with over $23 Billion spent on food, $14 Billion on supplies including OTC medicine,
$15.4 Billion on veterinary care, $5.4 billion on pet services including grooming and
boarding, and $2.12 billion on the sale of live animals.Most of the sectors, excluding
vet care, have few barriers to entry but have stiff competition. With the equivalent
of the pet big box stores getting into services as well as food, supplies, live animal
sales, the possibilities for successful entry are getting smaller.
Can a Small Pet Care Business Compete on Price?
A key aspect of a successful startup business plan is the
type of differentiation the business employs to compete against other businesses
in the same industry. For a small business, in the pet care industry, the most
popular differentiation is the one least likely to sustain a new small business --
price. There are many reasons why new and existing small businesses selling pet
products, and even in-house services like grooming, cannot compete on price.
First and foremost is that the pet box stores buy inventory, supplies, equipment,
and services cheaper due to the greater volume that they purchase. Secondly a new
business cannot sustain a discounting cycle against a determined leader. A larger
established firm can maintain a loss on a product or service for a longer period of
time to weaken competition. Their scale provides a seemingly unlimited advertising
budget to inform their market of their teaser, and loss-leader pricing strategies.
An additional problem for new and small operations is
that products and services differentiated on price do not build customer loyalty.
Customers will migrate to the lowest cost alternative baring any other differentiating factor.
This requires a continued advertising commitment to remain competitive, but the big players also
have a national reach and focus on branding with discount pricing as a key strategy.
Small Pet Care Businesses Must Find Creative Ways to Compete.
The truth is that small pet care or product businesses must find creative ways to differentiate
their offerings in order to maintain a price that results in profit over time. In the pet services industry,
however, there are a growing number small players that make competitive pricing difficult, if not impossible for
the professional business startup or going concern. Big players defeat competitive pricing in pet care products,
while mom-and-pop operators make competitive pricing in pet care services impossible by running below the radar of
compliance issues like insurances, employee taxes, and even income taxes. They don't evaluate their business by profit
and loss, instead they just need enough to pay their personal bills. They spend nearly nothing on marketing and try to
subcontract what they can't do themselves.
These realities require the serious entrepreneur to differentiate on service while
they leverage industry relationships to find mutually beneficial efficiencies to reduce costs. Industry
relationships should provide consistency in quality, as well as inexpensive networking opportunities to
decrease advertising costs.
A key weakness in the service of the mom-and-pop pet care business is availability.
Most can only handle a small number of customers without either cheating the customer or turning down business.
Also, personal issues can change availability in an instant leaving customers without an option at the last minute.
Professional pet care businesses must take advantage of these weaknesses,
while differentiating themselves by extoling the benefit to the customer of having a bonded, insured,
employee from a reputable company providing their service. Indeed, insurance, training, and reliability
issues are created by using subcontractors, that many pet parents will be concerned about. Adding benefits
like background checks, professionally trained staff, on-line account management, and on-demand dispatching
can close the sale and offset the higher price point required for a fair profit. The superior quality provided
by adding these benefits becomes a loyalty builder, that increases networking, and decreases the need for expensive
Our government is constantly increasing the regulation and taxation of small businesses in all sectors.
A professionally run small business must find inexpensive alternatives to meet these compliance and taxation issues.
While there are some internet resources available to assist in meeting these requirements, they are fragmented across the web and
still require a good deal of knowledge and experience to navigate. Small business owners are joining associations and other professional
groups at annual fees, with the promise of resources to help meet the new government challenges at a price that is affordable. New payroll
options are becoming more numerous to meet the growing compliance expenses of maintaining employees.
Many of the pet sitter, and other pet care professional associations are helping to pool small-business
resources to create discounts on expenses like insurance, payroll, background checks, and networking. Tech, as well, is fielding
programs like Pet-Sit-Click to decrease management and administrative costs in meeting these overhead obligations, as well as providing
a solid accounting system for revenues and expenses. The latest trends incorporating GPS and communications available with smart-phones
and small tablets are changing the way employees are managed and productivity is maintained. These options make operating a professional
pet-care business possible in today's challenging industry environment and the profit incentive an effective addition to the more altruistic
and emotional reasons for wanting to work with pets.
The challenge of the big box and discount stores is cyclical, as K-Mart and others will attest.
The government is becoming more adept at catching those running under the radar, and have a tremendous incentive to
continue tightening enforcement. Consider the growth in the unemployed who have stopped looking for work.
The government knows that the anemic growth in GDP and increase in the unemployed is a sign that an underground economy is growing, and avoiding tax.
The bottom line is that, although there are challenges to overcome, as well as barriers to navigate,
the professional business person who starts or grows a small pet care business, differentiating on service,
and taking advantage of the network of other professionals in the industry and the new technologies available, the future is still bright.
Mark A. Sinex, Co-Owner of Mrs Nanny Paws
On Friday October 21 there was a cyber attack on the east coast of
the United States that briefly brought down major websites such as NetFlix and the New York Times.
For some of our clients, this attack also impacted their ability to access PetSitClick.
Fortunately we were able to provide them an alternate way to access their data.
But last Friday is a good example of why it is important to have a disaster
recovery plan for your business when it comes to your data. This is especially true for pet
care businesses, where a missed visit could have serious ramfications for a living animal.
There are a few reasons you might be unable to access PetSitClick:
1) A hurricane or other natural disaster.
2) A major power outage.
3) Cyber attack.
4) Issues at the data center.
So what can you do to protect your business and the animals under your care?
We have listed some great strategies below that can ensure you are prepared for disaster:
1) Turn on the nightly master email.
This ensures you will always have the next day's schedule even if PetSitClick is not available. You can do this under My Company->Settings->Basic Settings and then click the first link.
2) Download your client and pet information from PetSitClick on a regular basis. This ensures you have all important information at your fingertips.
We have made it very easy to do this, just go to My Company->Settings->Your Business Data.
You might even want to consider printing out a hard copy now and then for disasters like a power outage.
3) If there is a problem with PetSitClick,
the best place to check is the PetSitClick Facebook user group or our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/petsitclick). We will post regular updates with alternate instructions where applicable.
Since we launched in 2011, PetSitClick has had very good uptime with minimal unplanned downtime. And we continue to work hard to ensure that is the case. But as the cyber attack shows, it is always good to be prepared!
Success commands are an incredible tool in many different aspects of dog training and behavioral work. A success command is a command that your client' s dog knows well already. We call it a success command because the dog is successful at demonstrating the desired behavior every, or almost every, time you give the command.
The most common success commands are basic obedience commands (i.e. sit, stay, leave-it, come). But they can also be extended
to other commands without limitation (i.e. find medication, search the house for intruders, pick-up your toys and put them away). Obviously as you and
the dog learn commands together the more success commands the dog will know.
How they help your client' s pet
The way success commands help with 99% of dog training is through building confidence. It
is hard to learn something, especially from someone who doesn' t speak the same language as you! But once the dog understands
what you as the teacher want and they get it right they are proud as can be. And rightfully so! A dog' s brain is not as advanced
as yours and they also live more in the now than humans ever will. So for them even small successes in life are a big deal.
I still praise my 11 year old dog for going potty on command and for basic obedience. Not because I am happy she did it (although I am)
but because I know it builds her confidence and shows her I appreciate her working with me.
How it helps the dog with phobias or fears
If a client has a dog that has timid and/or fearful tendencies success commands
will be your go-to tool. I recommend having some kind of treat that the dog only gets when working through
their phobia or anxiety. Phobias are by definition an irrational fear. So the dog' s phobia is something that
you can work through. Although some dogs won' t eat when they are experiencing a high level of stress, most dogs
will eat treats until they hit that threshold. If your client' s dog is fearful in certain areas (i.e. on busy streets,
by the water at a beach, etc.) try bringing them to that area, sit calmly and quietly with them for approximately 5
minutes then begin by giving them a treat and working on success commands. You might end the session by sitting calmly
and quietly in the area for another 5 minutes or until the dog seems more relaxed. It will take many sessions! After-all
you aren' t ready to pick up spiders and play with them after one session of sitting next to one.
My senior dog, Moxie, was extremely fearful of humans when I got her 9 years ago. She use
to growl, close her eyes and run backwards when she saw people. For a large black pit bull she was doomed from the start.
And that is exactly why I wanted her. She was cautiously optimistic of my friendship the first time we met. Which told me
she was capable and wanting of affection, but terrified of what could happen next. It took 2 years of socialization and training
to be great with all people and pass her therapy dog tests, to work with not only adults but children too. I used success commands
the entire time. We actually still use them almost daily to this very day, because why not!?! I want my dog to know she is a great
dog and that I am proud of her. It will take your client's dog a long time to get over a phobia but it can be done!
How it helps the unfocused or distracted dog
For pets that seem unfocused in training classes and / or in
the world outside of the home success commands can be especially helpful. Let' s face the
facts, sometimes we are not that exciting for the dogs in our care. Sometimes that other dog,
that bag blowing in the wind, that bicyclist or even the gum on the sidewalk is more exciting
for them than you are. It can be very helpful to just stop with the dog and ignore everything
going on around you for just a minute or two while the dog regains their focus and is ready to
work with you again. It can help to simply just stop moving, say the dog' s name and give them a
success command. They might not listen to you the first time because they' re excited about that gum.
So just stay calm and consistent with your unwillingness to keep walking or to let them have the object
of excitement. Once the dog looks back to you out of confusion, about why you aren' t doing anything,
give them the success command again, praise them and continue on your way. If the dog listened to you
the first time then give them praise and continue on your way once they' ve made eye contact with you.
This will help to get their focus back on working with you. Simply sitting on command while staring at
the object of excitement isn' t good enough.
Nikki Johnson, Founder and Co-Owner of Moxie's Pet Service, Inc
It is no secret that there are other pet sitting and dog walking software options to choose from. Each of them have their strengths and weaknesses and in the end you need to find one that best meets your business needs. But one area where PetSitClick has a clear advantage is pricing for companies with more than 5 walkers or sitters. Our unlimited walker/sitter package is only $49.99 a month and we are the only major pet sitting software with an unlimited option. We have a company that uses PetSitClick with more then 75 walkers and sitters and all they pay is $49.99 each month. So we offer a huge cost advantage over our competitors. But just how much?
Let's pretend you have grown your pet care company to 15 walkers/sitters. Congrats! That is a nice business you have there. Your monthly PetSitClick fee would be $49.99 a month. However, if you are with one of our competitors you would be paying on average $100.00 a month extra on top of our $49.99. And remember, that is per month. Each year it would be an extra $1200.00. And over 5 years it would be $6000.00! That is a lot of money to spend on pet sitting software that you don't necessarily have to. If we ran this scenario for even more walker/sitters you would easily be paying an extra $10,000.00 over 5 years.
Now in the end you want to choose a software that will help you run and grow your business, and we think PetSitClick has a ton of great features to help you do that. But as with all business decisions, cost should be a consideration as well. With PetSitClick, our unlimited walker/sitter option ensures that you keep more of your hard earned money.
Being able to view all of your client locations on one map at the same time can give you a great overview of your business. For example, where are most of your clients situated? If only a couple are in a certain part of your territory then it might be worth making your territory smaller to focus on the areas that make the most money. Or conversly, you might realize you have left areas completely untapped. PetSitClick makes it easy to map all of your clients. Here are the steps. First go to Customers/Pets->Mapping Tools. Then click the button to "GeoCode Clients and View Them on a Map"
On the next screen simply click the "Get Location" button and PetSitClick will determine the client's GPS coordinates based on their address. Click save when done. After you complete the process for your clients, click the Main Map tab. All of your clients will now be visible on a map.
In addition to the basic map view, make sure to check out the financial map and schedule map options. Both will now be available now that you have your clients properly mapped.
As summer wraps up we thought we would recap all of the features that have been added to PetSitClick over the last few months. We have been busy working on a lot of great things and occasionally hitting the beach to grab some sun. And boy was it hot this year! I am actually looking forward to some cooler weather, as I am sure a lot of your pooches are too.
Our major new feature was the iOS and Android apps for your walkers and sitters. So far we have had over 800 installs with more added each day. Overall the feedback has been very positive and we have heard it is a major improvement over the old mobile login. That is not to say it is perfect and we look forward to continuing to add features and improve usability with future releases.
In the early summer we also introduced our updated, more mobile friendly customer portal. It was a bit of a transition for your clients who use the portal each day, so we appreciate everyone's input in making it as user friendly as possible. We have found that since the new portal was introduced that the customer portal usage has increased quite a bit.
Some of the smaller features that we have released include time blocks on the portal, the ability to pay multiple invoices at once, and a redesigned change/cancellation screen.
Oh, and we also did a complete redesign of our front-end marketing pages. :)
So if you haven't had a chance to try out the new features please take a moment to do so and let us know what you think. With that being said, it's a Friday so probably a good time to post this blog and enjoy some downtime with the family. Have a great weekend!
Even with the convenience of credit cards, a lot of your clients still like to pay with cash or check (and it also saves you a lot of money in transaction fees). But it can be painful entering all of those payments into PetSitClick one-by-one. The good news is PetSitClick allows you to mark multiple invoices as paid with just a couple of clicks. Here is how to do it. First go to Accounting->Invoices and select the invoices you want to mark as as paid with a checkmark. Then click the mark checked invoices as paid button.
On the next screen simply enter the payment date, payment method, and any notes. Click submit and you are done! If you want to enter your payments based on method, then you will need to repeat this process for each payment type (i.e. cash, check, square etc.). But if you are not picky just choose the payment method of "Other" and mark all invoices paid at once.
Today we introduced a new look for the front-end of PetSitClick. We are excited about all PetSitClick has to offer your dog walking and pet sitting business and want our website to convey this. We hope you like it!
Along with the changes to our front-end we have recently introduced some great new features for PetSitClick include a native iOS and Android and a redesigned customer portal.
If you would like to view our older blog posts you can click the link below (they go all the way back to 2010!).
View Older PetSitClick Blogs